Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 25 November 2016; Revised 1 January 2017
Scripture Text: The Scripture text of John used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms Tanakh (Old Testament), Besekh (New Testament), Torah (Law), Yeshua (Jesus), and Messiah (Christ). I use the title "The Testimony of John" because that is how John describes his book (John 21:24). See the article Witnesses of the Good News for background information on this book.
Methodology: For an explanation of abbreviations, acronyms, terminology, spelling conventions, and other information on organization of the commentary see my Commentary Writing Philosophy.
Primary Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Unless otherwise indicated the following primary sources are used:
• Different Bible versions may be cited for Scripture quotations. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Messianic Jewish versions are CJB, DHE, GNC, HNV, MW, OJB, & TLV.
• The Septuagint (LXX) is the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, which was in use among Jews by the mid–2nd century BC. The LXX with English translation may be found here.
• Citations for Josephus, the first century Jewish historian (Yosef ben Matityahu), are from The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.) trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
• The meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. Definitions of Hebrew words are from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), given as "BDB." The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.
• Dates are from Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings (1992). Online.
Thursday, Erev Nisan 15 (Friday), A.D. 30; 6 April (Julian)
John brings his narrative of the last supper to a conclusion with his report of Yeshua's prayer to the Father. The time is late in the evening, perhaps 10-11 pm.
There are notable intercessory prayers recorded in the Tanakh: by Abraham (Gen 18:23-32), by Moses (Ex 32:11-13, 31-32; 33:11-23), by David (2Sam 17:18-29), by Solomon (1Kgs 8:22-53), by Elijah (1Kgs 18:36-38), by Hezekiah (2Kgs 19:14-19), by Ezra (Ezra 9:5-15), by Nehemiah (Neh 1:4-11), by Jeremiah (Jer 32:16-25), and by Daniel (Dan 9:3-21). This prayer of Yeshua is unique in all of Scripture, because as Stern says, "we see deeply into the Messiah’s heart—into the intimacy of the relationship between the Son and the Father." Morris says "it is invested with a peculiar solemnity."
During his life on earth Yeshua had a very active prayer life and in so doing set the example for his disciples. Paul said, "In the days of His life on earth, Yeshua offered up both prayers and pleas, with loud crying and tears, to the One able to save Him from death; and He was heard because of His reverence." (Heb 5:7 TLV). Yeshua typically withdrew to places where he could be private (Luke 5:16) and generally prayed in the nighttime hours, sometimes all night (Matt 14:23; Luke 6:12). Sometimes he prayed very early in the morning (Mark 1:35). These were the only times when he didn't have the pressure of the crowds (cf. Mark 3:20; 6:31).
Reinhartz notes that previously Yeshua taught his followers how and what to pray (Matt 5:44; 6:6-13; Mark 11:24-25; Luke 11:1-4; 18:1), but here he prays for himself and on their behalf (189). This was not, of course, the first time he prayed for his disciples (cf. Luke 22:32). The content of the prayer in this chapter is very different from the one Yeshua prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane as recorded in the Synoptic Narratives (Matt 26:36-45; Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:39-46). John clearly places the timing of this prayer before the departure to the Garden. Tenney notes that this prayer is closely linked with his last supper discourse given the repetition of important vocabulary: "glory," "glorify," "sent," "believe," "world," and "love."
The prayer has been traditionally labeled "The High Priestly Prayer," which owes to Paul's description of Yeshua's work as high priest in his anonymous letter to Messianic Jews in the Diaspora (Heb 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:7, 10; 6:20; 7:26; 8:1; 9:11). As High Priest Yeshua pulls back the veil between earth and heaven and engages in intimate conversation with his Father. Then with the force of a last will and testament he offers petitions for the things most needed in the lives of his disciples. We should not assume that this is the first time Yeshua prayed this way.
As Morris notes it is difficult to subdivide because it is essentially a unity. However, there is a certain flow or direction of thought. So we offer this outline:
Prayer for Glorification, 17:1-5
Prayer for the Eleven, 17:6-19
Prayer for All Followers, 17:20-24
Prayer for Glorification, 17:1-5
1 Yeshua spoke these things and having lifted up his eyes to heaven, he said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, so that the Son might glorify you,
Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). The English rendering of "Jesus" originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729. By virtue of His incarnation and Jewish mother, Yeshua must still be a Jew. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his identity, and the history of translation of the name see my web article Who is Yeshua?
spoke: Grk. laleō, aor., is used in the Besekh primarily to mean making an oral statement and to exercise the faculty of speech; assert, proclaim, report, say, speak, talk about, utter. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes its use or follows it; this, these. Gill and Morris say that the opening clause "Yeshua spoke these things" refers to the instruction delivered in the three preceding chapters. If that were the case it seems strange that in the development of the structure of chapters and verses in the Greek text this clause should begin this chapter and not end the preceding chapter. The opening clause can just as easily point forward and introduce the prayer that follows as entirely the verbatim words of Yeshua. This is not an attempt by John to summarize the theme of Yeshua's prayer, but by Spirit-aided remembrance (John 14:26) he recounts the full-length prayer, a true masterpiece of composition.
and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. There are over 50 conjunctions in biblical Greek, but kai is by far the most common in the Besekh, occurring over 9,000 times (BibleHub). The excessive use of conjunctions is evidence of either an original Hebrew text or Jewish Greek. In contrast to most Bible versions I translate all the instances of kai (and all the other conjunctions) as a reminder of John's Hebraic writing style.
having lifted up: Grk. epairō, aor. part. (for Heb. gadal, SH-1431, 'to grow up,' 'become great'), to raise up over, here of physical action in an upward direction; lift up. his: Grk. autos, pers. pron. eyes: pl. of Grk. ophthalmos, the physical organ of sight; eyes. The description implies the eyes were left open, which was typical of Jews when they prayed. to: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on entrance, frequently in relation to a direction toward a goal or place and consequent arrival; lit. "into." heaven: Grk. ouranos, the area above the earth that encompasses the sky, planets and associated phenomena. In the LXX ouranos translates Heb. hashamayim ("the heavens"), which is normally translated as singular (DNTT 2:191). The Hebrew and Greek words for "heaven" are used in Scripture to refer to at least three different places (Ps 148:1-4).
The first heaven is the atmosphere in which birds fly (Gen 1:20; 1Kgs 21:24; Rev 19:17) and from which comes rain, snow, dew, lightning and thunder (Gen 8:2; Deut 11:11; 33:13; Job 38:29; Matt 6:26). The second heaven is interstellar space populated with planets and stars (Gen 1:14–19; Ps 19:1–6). The third heaven is the abode of God the Father and the home of angels (Job 16:19; Ps 2:4; 11:4; Matt 6:9; 2Cor 12:2–4). Yeshua had prayed in this manner on the occasion of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:41). Tenney suggests that this was a typical Jewish gesture of prayer, whether offered to God or to idols (Ps 121:1; 123:1; Ezek 33:25; Dan 4:34).
Prayers by Jews were generally offered at the Temple (Mark 11:17). Jews who lived at a distance too far for a daily journey or in the Diaspora went to a synagogue and faced Jerusalem. However, the daily prayers could be offered at home and in that case people opened their windows "toward Jerusalem" and prayed "toward" the place of God's presence (cf. 1Kgs 8:29-30, 38, 42, 44, 48; Ps 5:7; Dan 6:10). Nevertheless, Yeshua repeatedly emphasized that the Father resides in heaven (Matt 5:16, 45; 6:1; 12:50; 16:17; 23:9) and taught his disciples by instruction and modeling to direct their prayers heavenward (Matt 6:6, 9; 26:39, 42). While Jews believed God's presence was in the temple Yeshua knew that in forty years the temple would be destroyed (Yoma 39a-b), and then worship would be directed to the Father in heaven (John 4:21). John is also likely showing deference to Jewish sensibilities and says "heaven" as a euphemism for "God."
Clarke suggests the prayer was offered while en route to the Garden of Gethsemane and before crossing the Kidron Valley. In that event the clause "lifted up his eyes to heaven" would have the natural meaning of looking up into the night sky. Against this interpretation is that the grammar of John 18:1 seems to depict departure from the upper room. It also begs the question of where in the city or outside the city walls would Yeshua and his disciples stop in order for him to offer this prayer without attracting notice of the Temple police or gate guards. he said: Grk. legō, aor., to make a statement or utterance, whether mentally, orally or in writing, often used to introduce quoted material. The focus of the verb may be declarative, interrogative or imperative; answer, ask, declare, enjoin, order, say, speak, tell, told, refer to, talk about.
Father: Grk. patēr, normally of a male biological parent or ancestor, but frequently in reference to God, which emphasizes His activity as creator, ruler and sustainer (BAG). In the LXX patēr renders ab ("av"), which occurs about 1180 times, generally in the human sense, but also of God as father (DNTT 1:616f). In the Hebrew vernacular Yeshua and the apostles would have used the Heb. word aba, as occurs in (Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). In the Tanakh God's identity as a parent is first mentioned in reference to His covenantal relationship with Israel (Deut 1:31; 8:5; 32:6; Ps 103:13; Isa 43:6; 63:16; 64:8; Jer 3:19; 31:9; Hos 1:10: Mal 1:6). Israel is specifically identified as God's son (Ex 4:22; Hos 11:1). Only in late Jewish apocryphal writings is God called the Father of the pious Jew as an individual (Sir 23:1, 4; Tob 13:4; Wsd 2:16; 14:3; 3Macc 5:7).
While Jews recognized the God of Israel as the "father" of mankind in the sense of creator (Acts 17:28; Josephus, Ant. IV, 8:24), the capitalized "Father" in the Besekh continues the meaning found in the Tanakh. Unfortunately the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed removed the association with Israel and presented the Father as only the "Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." Yeshua acknowledged this covenantal relationship when he taught his Jewish disciples to pray "our Father" (Matt 6:9). Yeshua also spoke to his Jewish disciples of "your Father" (Matt 5:45, 48; 6:14, 26, 32; Mark 7:11; Luke 6:36). Thus, for the Body of Messiah the God of Israel becomes "our Father" (Rom 1:7; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; Col 1:2).
the hour: Grk. hōra may mean (1) a short space of time, the twelfth part of a day; hour; (2) fig. for a period of time in the day; "the hour was already late;" or (3) fig. for a point of time as occasion for action or for an event; time. The third usage applies here. has come: Grk. erchomai, perf., come or arrive, mostly with implication of a position from which action or movement takes place, but it also may focus on the goal for movement. glorify: Grk. doxazō, aor. imp. (from doxa, "glory"), enhance esteem or reputation through word (of praise) or action to honor. In the LXX doxazō renders Heb. navah (SH–5115), to beautify, adorn with praises (Ex 15:2), but principally kabad (SH–3513), to be weighty, to be honored or praised (Lev 10:3; Ps 15:4).
your: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers. Son: Grk. huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry. In the LXX huios generally renders Heb. ben ("son," "son of"), which is used: (1) to identify immediate paternity (Gen 5); (2) to mean a more distant ancestor (e.g., Gen 32:32; Matt 1:1); or (3) to mean having the characteristics of (e.g., Ps 89:22; Dan 3:25; cf. 2Th 2:3). The mention of "Son" lacks the usual descriptor "of God" or "of Man." The solitary form "Son" occurs occasionally in the Synoptic Narratives, but often in the narrative of John. Since the previous use of Son was "Son of Man" in 13:31, then this may be the intended meaning. On the other hand, since Yeshua is both Son of God (the Davidic King) and Son of Man (Daniel's divine deliverer), then the singular "Son" may merge both roles.
so that: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed, in order that, so that, that. the Son: Grk. huios. might glorify: Grk. doxazō, aor. subj. you: Grk. su. The Son, Yeshua, would glorify or bring honor to the Father by carrying out the Father's will.
2 just as You gave him authority over all flesh, so that all whom You have given him, he may give to them eternal life.
just as: kathōs, adv. emphasizing similarity, conformity, proportion or manner; as, just as. You gave: Grk. didōmi, aor., to give, often with the focus on generosity. In the LXX didōmi generally renders Heb. natan, to give, used in one of three settings (1) by men one to another; (2) by men to God; and (3) by God to men (DNTT 2:41). This giving was from the Father to the Son. him: Grk. autos, pers. pron., a self-reference in the third person. authority: Grk. exousia, the right to speak or act in a situation without looking or waiting for approval; authority, right, jurisdiction. over all: Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every, anyone, everyone.
flesh: Grk. sarx, "flesh," has a variety of literal and figurative uses in Scripture: (1) the tissue that covers the skeleton of a human or animal; (2) the whole physical body viewed as a substance; (3) man of flesh and blood in contrast to God and supernatural beings; (4) mortal nature or earthly descent; (5) corporeality, physical limitations, life here on earth; (6) the external or outward side of life; (7) theologically self-interest that may stand in opposition to the Spirit; and (8) the source of the sexual urge without any suggestion of sinfulness connected with it (BAG). In the LXX sarx stands for Heb. basar (SH-1320), with much the same applications as sarx (DNTT 1:672).
The words "all flesh" corresponds to Heb. kal basar, an idiomatic expression that refers to all living beings on earth (Gen 6:17, 19; 7:21; 9:11), animals (Gen 7:15-16; 8:17) or mankind in distinction from animals (Gen 6:12, 18; Num 16:22). The majority of versions render sarx with "flesh," but some versions opt for words that focus strictly on human beings: "everyone" (CEB, NLT), "humanity" (GW, NOG, NET, NJB), "mankind" (CJB, NEB) and "people" (CEV, NAB, NCV, NIV, NRSV, TEV). However, one might think that if Yeshua had meant mankind apart from animals he would have used anthrōpos.
The distinction of having authority over all "flesh" is that "flesh" implies the authority of life and death, whereas if he had used anthrōpos he would have meant ruling authority. Genesis 6 records YHVH, the one who made heaven and earth and all therein (Gen 2:4; John 1:1-3), and who is Yeshua (John 8:58), brought a global cataclysm that destroyed "all flesh," humans and animals, on the earth (Gen 6:6-7). The Father gave the Son the authority to create and the authority to destroy. In this prayer Yeshua states for those listening that his power to create will yield a future transformation for those who belong to him.
so that: Grk. hina, conj. all: Grk. pas. whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to specify or give significance to the mention of a person, thing or concept that precedes; who, which, what, that. The "all whom" are derived from the "all flesh." You have given: Grk. didōmi, aor. him: Grk. autos; another self-reference. The "all whom" refers to the disciples standing with him, as well as other disciples that did not share the Passover with him. he may give: Grk. didōmi, aor. subj. to them: pl. of Grk. autos. The pronoun alludes to the "all whom." Yeshua has previously spoken of his disciples as those he chose (John 13:18; 15:16, 19), but also as those given to him by the Father (John 6:37, 39; cf. John 3:27).
This is an example of the manner of communicating in Hebrew that a consequence reads like an intention. In other words, Yeshua is not describing a relationship that resulted from predestination before creation, but one that resulted from choices. The initiative, as always in spiritual matters, was from God. Yeshua in unity with the Father chose the disciples, i.e., he extended an invitation given by the Father. They in turn chose Yeshua. Their choice was the result of responding favorably to the light of God given to them (cf. John 1:9) and the good news being proclaimed to them (cf. John 1:35-37; 4:44).
eternal: Grk. aiōnios, adj., can mean (1) relating to a period of time extending far into the past; long ages ago; (2) relating to time without boundaries or interruption; eternal; or (3) relating to a period of unending duration; permanent, lasting. In the LXX aiōnios occurs about 150 times to render Heb. olam (SH-5769), "a long duration, antiquity or futurity" (BDB 761), which is also used as an adverb meaning "forever, for all time," the first being in Genesis 9:12 (DNTT 3:827). In the Tanakh olam is used for ancient time (Gen 49:26), and indefinite futurity, which may equate to a man's lifetime (Deut 15:17), but more often to the everlasting nature of God (Gen 21:33), His laws (Ps 119:89), His promises (Isa 40:8) and His covenant (Gen 9:16; 17:7; Ex 31:16; 2Sam 23:5). Lastly, olam encompasses existence after death and into eternity (Ps 90:2; Isa 45:17; Dan 12:2–3).
life: Grk. zōē, alive in contrast with being dead. "Eternal life" is the ultimate prize and the quality of life manifested in glory, honor and immortality. Both the Pharisees and Essenes embraced the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and resurrection (Josephus, Wars II, 8:11, 14). Reward and punishment would begin after death and the souls of the righteous would enter heavenly blessedness, while the souls of the ungodly are punished in Hadēs in the depths of the earth. This separation is clearly presented in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:22–26). Eternal life, however, is not just eternal existence, but sharing in the life of God. For that reason Yeshua taught that the abundant life, the best kind of life possible, begins now (Matt 10:39; John 6:35, 63; 10:10). It doesn't wait until after one dies.
3 "Moreover this is eternal life, in order that they may know you, the only true God, and Messiah Yeshua whom you have sent.
Moreover: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also," sometimes with emphasis, "indeed," "moreover" (Thayer). The third meaning applies here. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes its use or follows it; this, these. is: Grk. eimi, pres., to be, exist; a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). eternal life: See the previous verse. in order that: Grk. hina, conj. The conjunction introduces God's purpose.
they may know: Grk. ginōskō, pres. subj., to know, but has a variety of meanings, including (1) to be in receipt of information; know, learn, find out; (2) form a judgment or draw a conclusion; think, understand, comprehend, perceive, notice, realize, conclude; or (3) have a personal relationship involving recognition of another's identity or value; make acquaintance, recognize. The third meaning dominates the thought here with a nuance of the second. In the LXX ginōskō renders Heb. yada (SH-3045, 'yaw-dah'), which has a similar wide range of meaning (e.g. Gen 3:5; 4:1, 9), but in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, whether of knowing persons or knowing by experience, as well as knowing by learning from a teacher (DNTT 2:395). you: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers., here of the Father.
Yeshua adds another layer to the meaning of eternal life, that of knowing the Father. This knowledge is not what may be deduced of God by the study of nature (cf. Rom 1:20), or even by a study of Scripture (cf. John 5:39). This is not knowledge "about" God or affirming a creedal doctrine of God's existence. Yeshua had informed his opponents that they did not know the Father (John 8:19, 55), but in fact were children of the devil (John 8:44). Morris notes that Philo, the Jewish philosopher, comes close to this thought (without fully reaching it) when he says,
"But we who are the followers and disciples of the prophet Moses, will never abandon our investigation into the nature of the true God; looking upon the knowledge of him as the true end of happiness; and thinking that the true everlasting life, as the law says, is to live in obedience to and worship of God; in which precept it gives us a most important and philosophical lesson; for in real truth those who are atheists are dead as to their souls, but those who are marshaled in the ranks of the true living God, as his servants, enjoy an everlasting Life." (Special Laws I, 345)
Yeshua likely alludes to the promise given to Jeremiah concerning the new covenant,
"Then I will give them a heart to know Me—for I am ADONAI [Heb. YHVH]—and they will be My people, and I will be their God. For they will return to Me with their whole heart." (Jer 24:7 TLV)
"No longer will each teach his neighbor or each his brother, saying: 'Know ADONAI,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest" (Jer 31:33  TLV; quoted in Heb 8:11).
the only: Grk. monos, adj., signifying the exclusion of any other entity; alone, only. true: Grk. alēthinos, adj., in accord with what is true; (1) true, in the sense of reliable or dependable; (2) opposite of superficial, real, genuine, authentic; or (3) in accord with fact or circumstance, accurate. All three meanings apply to God. God: Grk. theos, God or god, which must be determined from the context. In secular Greek writings a number of deities, always represented in anthropomorphic form, were called theos. In ancient polytheistic culture theos was not one omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator and ruler of the universe and certainly not spirit as described in Scripture (John 4:24).
In the LXX theos primarily renders the general names of God: El, Eloah and Elohim, but also YHVH (DNTT 2:67-70). As with many other Greek words the LXX infused new meaning into theos. The noun occurs over 1300 times in the Besekh and is used overwhelmingly for the God of Israel. The phrase "only true God" is a statement of character as well as existence (cf. Deut 4:39; 2Chr 15:3; Isa 45:6; Jer 10:10). The God of the Bible speaks the truth and the Scripture He inspired is the truth. The "only true God" is not a statement of monotheism that allows the God of the Bible to be the same deity of other religions under a different name. The God of Israel is the only God there is. The deities of all other religions and cults are the product of Satan-inspired imagination.
and Messiah: Grk. Christos, the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer, the Anointed One or Messiah. The English "Christ" transliterates the Greek title, but does not translate it. In Greek culture christos comes from chriein, to rub lightly, and in its secular use had no religious connotation at all. Christos as an adjective described someone smeared with whitewash, cosmetics or paint, and was anything but an expression of honor. As a personal reference it even tended toward the disrespectful (DNTT 2:334).
Jewish translators of the LXX chose Christos to render Heb. Mashiach and in so doing infused new meaning into the Greek word. The title Mashiach means 'anointed one' or 'poured on.' Mashiach occurs in the Tanakh for (1) the patriarchs (1Chr 16:16-22; Ps 105:15); (2) the High Priest, Lev 4:5; (3) the King, 1Sam 12:3; 2Sam 22:51; Isa 45:1; and (4) the Messiah, Ps 2:2 and Dan 9:25-26. This last usage defined the term among Jews in the first century A.D. The title of "Anointed One" alludes to a ceremony of pouring olive oil on the head to invest one with the authority of an office (Ex 29:7; Lev 8:12; Ps 133:2). Among Christians the translation of "Christ" tends to obscure Yeshua's Jewish identity and office in relation to the Jewish people. For an expanded discussion on the Jewish title and Jewish expectations of the Messiah see my commentary on Mark 1:1.
Yeshua: See verse 1 above. whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. you have sent: Grk. apostellō, aor., to cause to move from one position to another, but often to send as an authoritative personal representative. The verb is a repetitive theme in this chapter (verses 8, 21, 23, and 25 below). In the LXX apostellō translated Heb. shalach ("to stretch out or to send"), often in contexts of commissioning and empowering a messenger (DNTT 1:128). Yeshua being sent by the Father is a repeated theme in John (5:23, 36-37; 6:44, 57; 8:16, 18; 10:36; 11:42; 12:44-45, 49; 13:20; 14:24; 15:21; 16:5). Being sent implies a mission and Yeshua had been sent to proclaim the advent of the Kingdom of God and deliver those in spiritual darkness (Matt 10:40; Luke 4:18, 43; 9:48; 10:16; John 3:17; 5:36, 38; 6:29, 57; 7:29; 8:42; 10:36; 11:42; 20:21). Peter and John also used the verb of Yeshua being sent (Acts 3:20; 10:36; 1Jn 4:9-10, 14).
Historically those who propagated the Arian heresy (denial of Yeshua's deity), including its modern representatives, have used this text to support their view (Gill). The fact is that in the Besekh whenever Yeshua and "God" or the "Father" are mentioned in a passage they are always clearly distinguished. However, there is no equivocation by the apostles that Yeshua is the image of the invisible God and agent of creation (John 1:1; 8:58; 2Cor 4:4; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:2-3). They do not say, "God is Yeshua," because such a statement might confuse the Son with the Father, even though they are one (John 10:30). The enigma of the unity of Son and Father is captured in Philippians 2:6, "although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped."
4 "I glorified You in the Land, having completed the work which You gave me that I should do.
I: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. glorified: Grk. doxazō, aor. See verse 1 above. You: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers. Yeshua means that his works caused people to praise God and in so doing enhanced the reputation of God as being full of grace and mercy. in: Grk. epi, prep. used primarily as a marker of position or location; 'at, in, on, upon, over.' the Land: Grk. gē can mean (1) soil receiving seed, (2) the ground, (3) the bottom of the sea, (4) land as contrasted with the sea; (5) a region or country; (6) the earth in contrast to the heavens or heaven; or (7) the inhabited globe, people, humanity (BAG). The LXX uses gē more than 2,000 times and translates the Heb. word erets (DNTT 1:517). In the Tanakh erets has the same range of meaning as gē, but especially (a) the earth in a cosmological sense, or (b) "the land" in the sense of a specific territorial area, primarily the Land of Israel (BDB 75).
All other versions have "on the earth," and that is certainly its literal meaning. Yeshua may have meant earth as contrasted with heaven, but as a Jew he likely meant the territory of Israel, since that was where he was physically located. His ministry encompassed the provinces of Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Gaulantis, Decapolis and Perea. Not once did he venture into the Diaspora. having completed: Grk. teleioō, aor. part., bring to a point at which nothing is missing, and the focus may be (1) carrying out a task or responsibility; complete; (2) bringing something to a designed conclusion; complete; or (3) bringing to the ultimate point of maturation; complete, to perfect. The following noun defines the focus of the verb.
the work: Grk. ergon generally means a tangible deed, action or accomplishment that may be observed. In John's narrative "work(s)" is a major theme with the word occurring 25 times, often on the lips of Yeshua, and referring either to evil actions of men, good actions of men or the missional actions of God and Yeshua in the form of revelation, miracles, signs, and sacrifice, the ultimate good works. which: Grk. hos, relative pron. See the previous verse. You gave: Grk. didōmi, perf. See verse 2 above. me: Grk. egō. By "the work" Yeshua does not mean his atoning sacrifice on the cross, since it has not happened yet. His mission was to glorify the Father by revealing the Father's character and nature. In all that Yeshua did for the bodies and souls of men he was the face of the Father's love.
that: Grk. hina, conj. I should do: Grk. poieō, aor. subj., a verb of physical action that may refer to (1) producing something material; make, construct, produce, create; or (2) to be active in bringing about a state of condition; do, act, perform, work. In the LXX poieō renders chiefly Heb. asah (SH-6213), accomplish, do, make, work (first in Gen 1:7), and used of a wide range of human and divine activity. Poieō also renders the special word bara (SH-1254), 'shape, fashion, create,' used of God's creative deeds (first in Gen 1:1). Both meanings of poieō suit actions of Yeshua during his ministry. Yeshua has previously said that what he accomplished was actually works the Father gave him to do (John 4:34; 5:36; 10:25, 32, 37; 14:10).
5 "And now, You, Father, glorify me with Yourself, the glory that I had with You before the universe existed.
And: Grk. kai, conj. now: Grk. nun, adv. of time in the present, 'now' or more emphatically 'right now.' You: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers. Father: See verse 1 above. glorify: Grk. doxazō, aor. imp. See verse 1 above. The imperative mood is used for entreaty here. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. with: Grk. para, prep. with the root meaning of beside (DM 108), conveys association between persons, things, or circumstances, which may denote (1) a point of origin, from; or (2) a close association or proximity, with, beside, in the presence of. The second usage applies here. Yourself: Grk. seautou, reflexive pron. of the second pers. To "glorify with Yourself" may allude to the fact that the Father dwells in "unapproachable light" (1Tim 6:16).
the glory: Grk. doxa has four categories of meaning: (1) splendor in the sense of brightness, (2) magnificence of what catches the eye, (3) fame, honor or approval, or (4) glorious as in the angelic beings and majesties. In the LXX doxa translates Heb. kavôd (SH-3519), which refers to the luminous and glorious manifestation of God’s person. Characteristically, kavôd is linked with verbs of seeing and appearing and stresses the impact that the manifestation of God makes on others. In the apostolic writings doxa is a continuation of the underlying Hebrew concept (DNTT 2:45). that: Grk. hos, relative pron. I had: Grk. echō, impf., to have, hold or possess with a wide range of application. with: Grk. para. You: Grk. su. Yeshua probably refers to the description of the man of glory witnessed by Ezekiel (Ezek 1:26-28) and later by John (Rev 1:12-16).
before: Grk. pro, prep. used to indicate precedence or a time earlier than; ahead, before. the universe: Grk. kosmos has a variety of uses in the Besekh and other Jewish literature, including (1) the orderly universe; (2) the earth as the place of habitation; (3) the world as mankind, sometimes in reference to a segment of population; (4) the world as the scene of earthly joys, possessions, cares and sufferings; and (5) representative of people and values opposed to God (BAG). In the LXX kosmos occurs five times for Heb. tsaba, the "hosts of heaven and earth," i.e., the stars (Gen 2:1; Deut 4:19). All Bible versions have "world," but it's clear that the first meaning is intended here. existed: Grk. eimi, pres. inf. See verse 3 above. This verse clearly teaches the pre-existence (before creation) of the Messiah as found in John 1:1.
Prayer for the Apostles, 17:6-19
6 "I revealed Your name to the men whom You gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and to me You gave them, and they have kept Your word.
I manifested: Grk. phaneroō, aor., cause to be in a state or condition that makes observation possible; make known, show, disclose, manifest, reveal. Some versions have "manifested" (ASV, ESV, KJV, NKJV, OJB, RSV), others have "revealed" (CEB, HCSB, NAB, NET, NIV, NLT), still others have "made known" (CJB, GW, NRSV, TLV). Your: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers. name: Grk. onoma is used in its central sense of identifying someone with a proper name. In Hebrew literature "name" also carries the extended sense of qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. By the opening clause Yeshua asserts that he made the attributes and character of God visible. If anyone had asked, "what is God like," the answer would be, "He is like Yeshua."
Another interpretation of Yeshua's statement is that he revealed the name of God that every disciple could use. Yeshua is not saying that he spoke the Hebrew sacred name YHVH (or any of the other names of God given in the Tanakh) contrary to religious convention at that time. Rather, he revealed God as Abba, Father. Although In English abba is spelled with two b's as it is in the Greek spelling, but the Hebrew word is spelled Aleph-Beit-Aleph, a three-letter name. In ancient Judaism there is no evidence of abba being used as a personal address to God, so when Yeshua addressed the Father in heaven as abba (Mark 14:36), he clearly established a precedent.
to the men: pl. of Grk. anthrōpos, human being, man or mankind. In the LXX anthrōpos renders three Hebrew words: (1) adam, SH-444, used for a human male or generically for humans as a contrast to animals (e.g., Gen 1:26, 27; 2:5); (2) ish, SH-376, an adult male or husband (Gen 2:23, 24) and (3) enosh, SH-582, a man or mankind, often signifying the aspect of weakness and mortality (Job 5:17; Ps 8:4-5) (DNTT 2:564). The men of whom Yeshua speaks are in the immediate sense the eleven disciples listening to the prayer, but by extension also the seventy whom Yeshua sent on a mission to proclaim the kingdom (Luke 10:1). The seventy were probably also among the 120 persons who awaited Pentecost (Acts 1:15).
whom: Grk. hos, relative pron. You gave: Grk. didōmi, aor. See verse 2 above. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first person. Yeshua indicates that the apostles were not men that he had arbitrarily selected, but men to whom the Father directed. In this affirmation there is no necessary intention of a pre-creation election of the apostolate. This is but another example of the unity between Father and Son. out of: Grk. ek, prep. with the root meaning of "out of, from within" (DM 102), denoting origin; from; from out of, from among. The preposition here denotes separation (Morris). the world: Grk kosmos. See the previous verse. While kosmos is often used euphemistically of opponents of Yeshua, whether Pharisees or members of the Sanhedrin, there is no implication that the apostles were originally part of that group. The term kosmos could be taken in the neutral sense of a population group, but more likely alludes to the fact that the disciples were once under the domination of the group that defined religious values.
Yours: Grk. sos (derived from Grk. su), an emphatic possessive adj. meaning "your very own" (HELPS). they were: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 3 above. The imperfect tense indicates continuous action in past time. The verb points to a time before Yeshua formally called his apostles to follow him. The possessiveness expressed implies that these men lived in a manner pleasing to God. and to me: Grk. kagō, formed from combining kai and egō and serves to link in parallel a personal affirmation by way of addition to or confirmation of a preceding statement. You gave: Grk. didōmi, aor. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pron. and: Grk. kai, conj. they have kept: Grk. tēreō, perf., may mean (1) to maintain in a secure state with a focus on personal interest or obligation; keep; or (2) to be in compliance in regard to instruction; keep, observe. The second meaning applies here.
Your: Grk. su. word: Grk. logos, vocalized expression, word, discourse, statement, message or speech. In Greek philosophical writings logos took on the meaning of a common universal law or truth and that which gives order in the universe. In the LXX logos stands principally for Heb. dabar, which has a range of meaning "speech, word, report, command, advice, counsel, thing, matter" (Gen 29:13; BDB 182) (DNTT 3:1087). Here logos is a word of the Father, but it's not immediately clear what Yeshua means. He might mean "word" to be equivalent of "commandments" (cf. John 14:23; 15:10). In other words, these men lived by the ethical requirements of Torah. On the other hand he might refer to the specific message spoken by the Father that the disciples heard at the transfiguration, "This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him" (Mark 9:7 mine).
7 "Now they know that all things whatever You have given me is from You;
Now: Grk. nun, adv. See verse 5 above. they know: Grk. ginōskō, perf. See verse 3 above. The perfect tense, which indicates completed action, combined with the temporal reference "now," implies that the discipling process has accomplished its goal. The apostles have knowledge they did not possess when Yeshua first called them into service. that: Grk. hoti, conj. that serves as a link between two sets of data, whether (1) defining a demonstrative pronoun; that; (2) introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb; (3) introducing a direct quotation and functioning as quotation marks; or (4) indicating causality with an inferential aspect; for, because, inasmuch as. The second usage applies here. all things: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 2 above.
whatever: Grk. hosos, correlative pron. denoting maximum inclusion; as much as, whatever. You have given: Grk. didōmi, perf. See verse 2 above. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first person. The "all things" given by the Father alludes to works of Yeshua that the disciples witnessed, which include his proclamation of the good news of the kingdom, his power to perform miracles, his knowledge of Scripture, his wisdom to apply biblical truth and his virtues that would qualify him to reign as King. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. from: Grk. para, prep. See verse 5 above. You: Grk. su, pron. of the second person. The redundancy of the last clause is probably meant to emphasize that the "all things" given to Yeshua did not come to him via an intermediary. The preposition para depicts a very close association between Father and Son.
8 that the words which You gave me I have given to them; and they received, and truly understood that I came from You, and they trusted that You sent me.
that: Grk. hoti, conj. See the previous verse. the words: pl. of Grk. rhēma, a communication consisting of words, often with the implication of importance or special significance. In secular Greek literature rhēma referred to a statement, discourse or explanation. In the LXX rhēma occurs predominately in the Pentateuch and prophetic writings for the Heb. dabar, which means "word" or "thing." Thus, rhēma, standing for dabar, can mean both (a) a word or utterance as well as (b) a matter, event, or case in the sense of the result of things said or done (DNTT 3:1119f). which: Grk. hos, relative pron. You gave: Grk. didōmi, aor. See verse 2 above. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first person. Yeshua affirms that all the words he spoke as instruction (and graphically displayed in red-letter Bibles) came direct from the Father.
I have given: Grk. didōmi, perf. to them: pl. of Grk. autos, pers. pron. and they received: Grk. lambanō, aor. The verb marks the transit of something from a position to another person who is the agent with the latter being also the receptor; to take (in the active sense) or receive (in the passive sense). and truly: Grk. alēthōs, adv., corresponding to what is really so; truly, really, actually. understood: Grk. ginōskō, aor., lit. "know." See verse 3 above. that: Grk. hoti, conj. I came: Grk. exerchomai, aor., to move away from a place or position, to go or come out. from: Grk. para, prep. You: Grk. su, pron. of the second person.
and they trusted: Grk. pisteuō, aor., in general Greek usage means to have confidence or faith in the reliability or trustworthiness of some thing or someone. In the LXX pisteuō renders Heb. aman, to confirm or support, first used in Gen 15:6 where it describes Abraham's response to God. The Hebrew verb also means to be true, reliable or faithful, and to stand firm or trust (BDB 52). The translation of "believe" in almost all versions can be misleading to the reader. In the Hebrew culture the verb does not convey a cognitive agreement with a philosophical proposition or a formal creed. A verb describes action of the person, and "trust" stresses both attitude and behavior. The action presumes being convinced of God's existence, generosity and faithfulness to His promises (Heb 11:6). If one is truly convinced, then one trusts; if one believes and trusts, then one is faithful and produces works of faithfulness (cf. Matt 7:21; Acts 21:20; Jas 2:18-19; 1Jn 3:23-24). The CJB renders the verb as "trust."
that: Grk. hoti. You sent: Grk. apostellō, aor. See verse 3 above. me: Grk. egō. The disciples were absolutely confident that Yeshua was the Messiah sent by God and spoke for God, because he was trustworthy.
9 "I am asking concerning them; I do not ask concerning the world, but concerning those whom You have given me; for they are Yours;
I am asking: Grk. erōtaō, pres., can mean (1) to ask with the focus on seeking information, such as asking Yeshua to explain his parables; ask, inquire; or (2) to ask in the sense of making a request for something or someone, sometimes in the form of an earnest plea; ask, request, beg, beseech. The second meaning applies here. concerning: Grk. peri, prep. with an orientational aspect relating to being near or having to do with something; in behalf of, about, concerning. them: pl. of Grk. autos, pers. pron. The pronoun refers to the Eleven. I do not: Grk. ou, adv., a particle that makes a strong denial or negation of an alleged fact or proposition (DM 264). ask: Grk. erōtaō, pres.
concerning: Grk. peri. the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. Here the term refers to living contrary to God's expressed will and particularly those opposed to God's Messiah. Gill says that Yeshua did not pray for the world because he did not die for the world. This is patently wrong as Yochanan announced, "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The apostles uniformly declared that Yeshua's death provided universal atonement (John 3:16; 4:42; 6:33, 51; Rom 5:15; 6:10; 2Cor 5:14-15; 1Tim 1:15; 2:6; Heb 10:10; 1John 2:2). However, in another sense Gill was correct in that Yeshua came to provide salvation for Israel (Matt 10:6; 15:24; Luke 1:68; 2:25; 24:21; Acts 5:31; 13:23; Rom 11:26). Gentiles are saved by being grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel (Rom 11:17) and becoming citizens of the Commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2:12-13).
Clarke interprets Yeshua as meaning only "I haven't come to that part of my intercession (verse 20)." So, Yeshua does not mean anything pejorative in specifying the objects of his prayer. He will pray for the "world" on the cross (Luke 23:34). The nature of the requests in this section can only be applicable to disciples, because Yeshua asks for spiritual things beyond the elementary aspects of faith (repentance and immersion, Heb 6:1).
but: Grk. alla, conj., adversative particle used adverbially to convey a different viewpoint for consideration; but, on the other hand. concerning: Grk. peri. those whom: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pron. You have given: Grk. didōmi, perf. See verse 2 above. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first person. Yeshua seems to include all his current disciples, especially those who will later await the Holy Spirit. for: Grk. hoti, conj. they are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. Yours: Grk. sos, possessive pron. of the second person. See verse 6 above.
10 and all things of mine are Yours, and Yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
and: Grk. kai, conj. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 2 above. things: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pron. of mine: Grk. emos, possessive pron. of the first person. are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. Yours: Grk. sos, possessive pron. of the second person. and Yours: Grk. sos. are mine: Grk. emos. Tenney comments that Yeshua's statement here assumes equality with the Father. Each has full title to the possessions of the other; they share the same interests and responsibilities. and I have been glorified: Grk. doxazō, perf. pass. See verse 1 above. in: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, and may be rendered "in, on, at, among, within, with, because of, or by means of" as appropriate to the context (DM 105). them: pl. of Grk. autos, pers. pron. For Yeshua to be glorified in his disciples points to their faithfulness in following and obeying him, even when others abandoned him (cf. John 6:66-68). They have also led exemplary lives in keeping with Torah ethics.
11 "And I am no longer in the world; but they are themselves in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given me, so that they may be one, just as we are.
And: Grk. kai, conj. I am: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. The present tense anticipates the future. no longer: Grk. ouketi, adv. of cessation of an activity or condition; no longer, no more. in: Grk. en, prep. See the previous verse. the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. By "world" Yeshua may be thinking of the world as the scene of earthly joys, possessions, cares and sufferings that has been his abode since his birth as a human. He has to make an emotional separation because he is leaving the world behind. but: Grk. kai. See verse 1 above. they are: Grk. eimi, pres. themselves: pl. of Grk. autos, pers. pron. in: Grk. en. the world: Grk. kosmos. "The disciples will continue to live sin-cursed world I am leaving."
and I: Grk. kagō. See verse 6 above. am coming: Grk. erchomai, pers. mid. See verse 1 above. to: Grk. pros, prep., lit. "near or facing" (DM 110). Since the pronoun following is in the accusative case, then pros would have the meaning of being "in company with" (BAG). You: Grk. su, pron. of the second person. With the preposition pros Yeshua could mean "coming to You" in the proximate sense of "I am coming before You, into Your presence, with this earnest prayer," but more likely he is repeating earlier prophecy of his anticipated ascension as the rationale for the following petition.
Holy: Grk. hagios, adj., set apart for dedication to the interests or expectations of God. The adjective is used in Scripture to designate: (1) things considered the property of God and therefore sacred (e.g., the temple, Jerusalem); (2) persons consecrated to God (e.g., priests and prophets), (3) an attribute of God, Yeshua and the Holy Spirit as worthy of ultimate reverence; (4) as a pure substantive used of the name of God (Luke 1:44). In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh (SH-6918), which means separate, sacred, holy. Qadosh is first used of God in Lev 11:44. Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 1 above. This is the only verse in the Bible in which "Holy Father" appears (cf. Rev 4:8; 6:10), whereas "Holy Spirit" occurs many times. Yeshua is called "Holy One" several times (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34; John 6:69; Acts 2:27; 13:35).
keep: Grk. tēreō, aor. imp. See verse 6 above. Here the verb means to preserve and protect from the schemes of the enemy. them: pl. of Grk. autos. in: Grk. en. Your: Grk. su. name: Grk. onoma. The phrase "in your name" implies a relationship of total devotion to God and dependence upon God. Yeshua's petition is a sample of the continued intercession that constitutes his present ministry (Rom 8:34). the name: Grk. onoma. See verse 6 above. which: Grk. hos, relative pron. You have given: Grk. didōmi, perf. See verse 2 above. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first person. That "name" might be an allusion to Isaiah 9:6 where it says the child to be born would be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" (NASB).
Perhaps more likely is that "name" refers to "Yeshua" (meaning "salvation"), which was given to him by his parents at the direction of the archangel Gabriel (Matt 1:21; Luke 1:31). Yeshua's statement concerning the name given him reflects contemporary rabbinic teaching:
"It was taught that seven things were created before the world was created; they are the Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gey-Hinnom, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah.” (Pesachim 54a; also Nedarim 39b)
"Before the sun and the signs [zodiac], the heavens and the stars were created, the name of the Messiah was decreed by the Lord of the spiritual powers" (Enoch 48:3).
so that: Grk. hina, conj. they may be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj. one: Grk. heis, the cardinal number one, with these uses: (1) in contrast with more than one; (2) emphatically, one and the same; (3) someone, equivalent to a personal pronoun; or (4) first in a series, as days of the week (BAG). The second usage applies here. In the LXX heis renders Heb. echad (SH-259), which has the same applications. The Hebrew concept emphasizes singularity and uniqueness. Nevertheless, echad also conveys compound unity. "One flesh" is the joining of male and female bodies (Gen 2:24). When Israelites acted in unity they were described as echad (Jdg 20:8; 2Sam 11:7). There is also the echad of a cluster of grapes (Num 13:23). Thus, echad incorporates the idea of a plurality in unity.
just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. See verse 2 above. we are: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pron. of the first person. Yeshua alludes to his previous statement "The Father and I are one" (John 10:30). See my comment there.
While: Grk. hote, temporal adv., when, at which time, but with the imperfect tense of the verb following hote denotes concurrent time; as long as, while. I was: Grk. eimi, impf. mid. See verse 3 above. The imperfect tense denotes continuous action in past time, so the verb summarizes the entire time since calling the disciples to join him. with: Grk. meta, prep., may be used as (1) a marker of association or accompaniment; 'amid,' among,' 'with,' or 'in company with'; or (2) a sequential or positional marker; after, behind. The first usage applies here. them: pl. of Grk. autos, pers. pron. I kept: Grk. tēreō, impf. See verse 6 above. As in verse 11 the verb means to preserve and protect from the schemes of the enemy. them: pl. of Grk. autos.
in Your name which You have given me: This clause is an exact repetition from the previous verse. and I guarded: Grk. phulassō, aor., may mean (1) serve as sentinel; guard, watch, such as a shepherd; (2) ensure that something remains intact; keep safe, preserve, watch; (3) 'be on guard against' or 'be on the alert against;' avoid (4) 'keep something from being violated;' keep, observe. The first meaning applies here. them: personal pronoun; the apostles. Yeshua kept his disciples from being persecuted by the Sanhedrin. and none: Grk. oudeis, adj. used here as a noun to indicate negation of a person or thing as actually existing at a given place or moment; no one, not one, nobody, none. The adjective admits no exceptions other than what is stated.
of them perished: Grk. apollumi, aor. mid., may mean (1) cause severe damage; destroy, kill, ruin; or (2) experience disconnection or separation; lose, perish, die. The second meaning applies here in the sense of incurring loss of eternal life and being permanently cut off from the grace of God (cf. John 3:16; 6:39). In the LXX apollumi renders 38 different Hebrew words that mean to be lost, perish, kill or to destroy (DNTT 1:463). The verb depicts a situation that threatens the very existence of an individual or group, such as one's enemies. In non-religious contexts it is used variously of the destruction of a city, a group of people or a tribe (cf. Gen 18:28, 31-32; Num 14:12; 16:33; 32:39; 33:52; Ps 9:5-6).
In the Tanakh the verb is often used in the context of requirements for cutting off people from Israel for committing capital crimes (e.g., Ex 30:38; Lev 7:21; 20:3, 5-6). Relevant to Yeshua's comment here is that the verb apollumi is used of the Pharisees intent against Yeshua (Matt 12:14; Mark 3:6) and then later in the plot by the chief priests and elders to have Yeshua executed (Matt 27:30; Mark 11:18; Luke 13:33; 19:47). except: Grk. ei mē, lit. "if not." the son: Grk. huios. See verse 1 above. of destruction: Grk. apōleia, the central sense is 'destruction' and is used (1) of extravagant expenditure; waste, loss; (2) of terrible loss one experiences; ruin, destruction, frequently with stress on its eternal aspect; and (3) of divisive teaching that is destructive (2Pet 2:1a). The second meaning applies here.
The Hebrew idiom "son of destruction" refers to one who is destined to be destroyed (cf. Rev 17:8; 19:20). The title may derive from the fact that he causes great loss and will suffer the ultimate destruction of separation from God (cf. Rev 19:20). To be a "son of" also says something of his character. In the Bible and Judaism a man is normally identified as the son of his father. However, the Hebrew word ben can be used in the broad sense of possessing the characteristics of someone. Morris takes the view that the idiom points only to character rather than destiny, interpreting "destiny" to mean predestined to be lost. However, "destiny" in this context does not refer to predestination but to prescribed consequences. The wages of sin is death.
Paul also gives this title to the "man of lawlessness," a title of the anti-messiah and end-time despot (2Th 2:3-8). The title may also allude to Abaddon, the angel of the abyss (Rev 9:11). The Hebrew name Abaddon means destruction and the corresponding Greek title Apollyon means destroyer. Since the antimessiah is actually a demonic spirit that arises from the abyss (Rev 17:8), calling him the Son of Destruction suggests a link with Abaddon. It could be that when Satan entered into Judas (Luke 22:3; John 13:27), it was actually Abaddon representing Satan. Thus, Judas prefigures and becomes a type of the anti-messiah.
so that: Grk. hina, conj. the Scripture: Grk. graphē, writing, and in the Jewish context and apostolic usage meaning the sacred Hebrew Bible (24 books) referred to by the acronym "Tanakh," corresponding to the Protestant Old Testament (39 books) and its translation into Greek, the Septuagint. The term "Scripture," which occurs over 50 times in the Besekh, summarizes the body of literature containing God's inspired, infallible, inerrant words penned by over 25 writers, from Moses to Malachi. The Tanakh reveals God's nature, His plan for a Messianic Savior and salvation, and His plan for holy and righteous living. This is the only Bible Yeshua and the apostles knew and as Scripture they upheld its authority over the traditions of men. Having the definite article points to a particular passage of Scripture.
might be fulfilled: Grk. plēroō, aor. pass. subj., may mean (1) cause to abound in content to a maximum, fill; or (2) to bring to fruition or completion, complete, fulfill, fill up, carry out. The second meaning has application here. Yeshua alludes to a psalm of David (Ps 41:9; cf. Ps 55:12-14), which he quoted earlier in the last supper (John 13:18). David's words describe betrayal of the most personal kind in reference to the actions of Ahithophel, his personal counselor, to support the rebellion of Absalom (2Sam 15:12, 31). David thus spoke a Messianic prophecy, because just as he was betrayed so the Messiah would be betrayed. Yet, Yeshua quoting David with its mention of "heel" is also meant to connect with the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 spoken to the Serpent, "I will put animosity between you and the woman—between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel" (TLV). Thus, Judas "lifting up his heel" against the seed of Chavvah (Eve) is accomplished by the Serpent (via Abaddon) entering him, who then betrays Yeshua to the "seed of the Serpent," the Sanhedrin (John 8:44).
13 "But now I am coming to You; and these things I speak in the world, so that they might have my joy made full in themselves.
But: Grk. de, conj. now: Grk. nun, adv. See verse 5 above. I am coming: Grk. erchomai, pres. mid. See verse 1 above. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 11 above. You: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person; i.e., the Father. Yeshua repeats what he said in verse 11 as anticipation of his eventual ascension. and these things: pl. Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. See verse 1 above. I speak: Grk. laleō, pres. See verse 1 above. in: Grk. en, prep. the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. The phrase "in the world" means simply "here on planet earth." so that: Grk. hina, conj. they might have: Grk. echō, pres. subj. See verse 5 above. my: Grk. emos, emphatic possessive pronoun of the first person.
joy: Grk. chara, joy as an emotional response that may be experienced in a variety of circumstances or of sharing in a celebration. Yeshua's words may allude to his promise expressed in 16:20 that their grief would be changed into joy. made full: Grk. plēroō, perf. pass. part. See the previous verse. The verb here depicts a full measure. in: Grk. en. A few versions have "within" to emphasize a personal and internal experience (AMP, NEB, NIV). themselves: pl. of Grk. heautou, reflexive pron. The phrase "in themselves" might also imply a corporate experience as in worship. The AMP interprets Yeshua's petition as "filling their hearts with my delight."
14 "I have given them Your word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
I: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. have given: Grk. didōmi, perf. See verse 2 above. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. word: Grk. logos. See verse 6 above. Yeshua probably refers to the instruction in the last supper. and the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. The term is used here of people and values opposed to God and His Messiah. hated: Grk. miseō, aor. means to detest, abhor or reject. In the LXX miseō renders Heb. sane (SH–8130; "saw–nay"), which has the same meaning (first in Gen 26:27). The Hebrew word often indicates an emotional impulse to despise that can result in an action to turn against (e.g., Joseph's brothers, Gen 37:2–8). Hatred in Scripture also refers to the hostility shown by an enemy (Gen 24:60; Ex 1:10; Num 10:35; Deut 30:7; Matt 24:9; Luke 1:71).
them: pl. of Grk. autos. There is no passage that specifically describes the disciples being hated by anyone. However, Yeshua probably alludes to those occasions when Pharisees showed strong disapproval of the disciples by criticizing their behavior that violated their traditions, such picking grain on the Sabbath (Matt 12:2), not washing their hands before eating (Matt 15:2), and shouting praise during the triumphal entry (Luke 19:39). because: Grk. hoti, conj. they are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. not: Grk. ou, adv. of: Grk. ek, prep. See verse 6 above. the world: Grk. kosmos. just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. See verse 2 above. I: Grk. egō. am: Grk. eimi, pres. not: Grk. ou. of: Grk. ek. the world: Grk. kosmos.
Morris notes that the expression "of the world" as used here denotes origin and character. Yeshua came from heaven and he was holy in character. When Yeshua called these disciples to leave their occupations and follow him they were not wicked men needing reformation. Rather they were men who lived by Torah. Yeshua's affirmation also hints at the concept of the Two Ways (Psalm 1). A person is either "of God" or "of the world;" "of Yeshua" or "of Satan." There is no neutral position. As Yeshua said on another occasion, "He who is not with me is against me" (Matt 12:30).
15 "I am not asking so that You should take them out of the world, but so that You might keep them from the evil one.
I am not: Grk. ou, adv. asking: Grk. erōtaō, pres. See verse 9 above. so that: Grk. hina, conj. You should take: Grk. airō, aor. subj., may mean (1) to cause to move upward; raise up, lift; or (2) move by lifting or taking from one position to another; take away, remove, carry off. The second meaning is probably intended here, although he may hint at the first meaning. them: pl. Grk. autos, personal pronoun. out of: Grk. ek, prep. See verse 6 above. the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. Yeshua probably uses "world" in reference to life on earth with its cares and sufferings. Yeshua does not want his disciples to be like the Essenes and separate themselves to wait for the Day of the Lord. By extension Yeshua rebuts the pre-tribulation theory of the rapture. See my article The Rapture Debate.
Morris notes that Moses, Elijah and Jonah prayed that they might be taken out of the world (Num 11:15; 1Kgs 19:4; Jon 4:3, 8), but their requests were not granted. The place for God's people is in the world, just not of it. Stern comments that believers are expected to be involved in what Judaism calls tikkun-ha'olam, repairing the world. Tikkun-ha'olam is deeply embedded in the Jewish ethic; for this reason even secular Jews usually find themselves concerned with bettering society. Believers in Yeshua the Messiah are not to separate themselves altogether (1Cor 5:10), but to act like yeast causing the world's dough to rise (Luke 13:21), caring for widows and orphans while remaining unspotted through participation in the world's sins (Jas 1:27), not being conquered by evil but conquering it with good (Rom 12:21).
but: Grk. alla, conj. See verse 9 above. so that: Grk. hina. You might keep: Grk. tēreō, aor. subj. See verse 6 above. Here the verb means to preserve and protect. them: pl. of Grk. autos. from: Grk. ek. the evil one: Grk. ponēros, adj., may mean (1) marked by lowness in social worth; (2) deviation from an acceptable moral or social standard, particularly as prescribed by God in his Word, (3) low in quality, bad, poor, or (4) in deteriorated or undesirable state or condition, of physical circumstances. The second meaning is intended here. In the LXX ponēros renders Heb. ra, which can mean evil, bad or of little value (DNTT 1:565). In the Tanakh ra is used to describe both that which is ethically evil (Deut 1:35; 4:25) and something that is unpleasant, disagreeable or injurious (e.g. Deut 22:14; 28:35; Isa 3:11).
Since the adjective has the definite article most all versions render the word as "evil one," representative of Satan, as depicted in John's first letter, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1Jn 5:19 TLV). The adjective seems to have this meaning in other passages (Matt 5:37; 6:13; 13:19, 38; Luke 11:4; 1Jn 2:13; 3:12). Yeshua's prayer perhaps alludes to his earlier statement to Peter, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:31-32 NIV).
16 "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Yeshua repeats the last clause of verse 14 verbatim. The MSG has "they are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world." For Yeshua repetition is never without purpose and here the statement may serve as a basis for the next petition.
17 "Sanctify them in the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
Sanctify: Grk. hagiazō, aor. imp. (derived from hagios, set apart to God), to set apart into the realm of the sacred; set apart, dedicate, purify. In the LXX the hagiazō renders Heb. qadash (SH-6942; BDB 872), to be set apart or consecrated, first used in Genesis 2:3 of the seventh day. The Hebrew verb is used of (1) calendar events, such as Shabbat and festivals (Ex 20:11; 20:20); (2) persons, such as the firstborn (Ex 13:2), the Israelite people (Ex 19:14) and priests (Ex 28:3, 41); (3) places, such as Sinai (Ex 19:23), the worship sanctuary (Ex 29:44; 2Chr 30:8) and houses (Lev 27:14); and (4) objects, such as sacrifices (Ex 29:27), and contents of the sanctuary (Ex 29:37; 40:9-10). The point of the verb is that what has been sanctified belongs to God and no use can be contemplated that violates His will.
Most versions translate the verb as "sanctify," but some offer a more colloquial interpretation with "set apart" (AMP, CJB, NET, OJB), "make holy" (CEB, GW, NIRV, NLT, TLV), "consecrate" (AMPC, MRINT, NAB, NEB) and "dedicate" (TEV). Stern says he avoided the word "sanctify" in the CJB because it seems archaic and removed from people's reality today. Consistent with the petition in verse 15 the separateness for which Yeshua asks is not a physical removal from other people and their concerns. However, there is a separateness envisioned in the Torah use of the word. In Exodus 31:13, YHVH says to Israel, "I, YHVH, sanctify you," and this was in the context of commanding Israel to keep all His sabbaths throughout their generations. God calls His people to live by a code or standard that will set them apart from the nations of the world.
them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Yeshua wants his apostles to be holy men. in: Grk. en, prep. See verse 10 above. Some versions have "by" (AMPC, HCSB, NIV) or "through" (KJV, NCV), and although this preposition can be used to express means, such is not its purpose here. Rather the term denotes position or even association. the Truth: Grk. alētheia may mean (1) truthfulness, dependability, uprightness in thought and deed, (2) truth as opposed to what is false, or (3) reality as opposed to mere appearance (BAG). The first meaning applies here. In the LXX alētheia regularly translates the Heb. emet ("firmness, faithfulness, truth," BDB 54), although Christian Bibles sometimes render it as "truth" and sometimes as "faithfulness" (DNTT 3:877). Emet is often used for truthfulness in God and piety in man.
Taking the first meaning of alētheia to be "sanctified in the truth" reflects the desire of Yeshua that his apostles would be separated from worldliness and completely devoted to the proclaiming the truth of God. Their message would be that of Yeshua, "And you will know the truth, and the Truth will free you" (John 8:32 mine). In Hebrew thought to know the truth is to live in that truth, to obey that truth and to be faithful to God. Your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. Word: Grk. logos. See verse 6 above. Taking the first mention of alētheia in this verse as a self-personification, then it would be natural for Yeshua in the context of this intimate conversation with the Father to use logos of himself. He is the divine Logos (John 1:1). Yeshua's desire is that his disciples will be so bound to him that none will ever betray him as Judas did.
is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. Truth: Grk. alētheia. Morris suggests that the phrase "Your Word is Truth" is taken from the LXX of Psalm 119:142, and MSS of that verse are divided between nomos ("law") and logos ("word"). Yeshua's statement also echoes David's exclamation after being informed of an heir who would build his house and establish his kingdom forever, "So now, my Lord ADONAI, You alone are God, and Your words are truth" (2Sam 7:28 TLV). However, Yeshua very likely uses alētheia here as a circumlocution for himself. The last clause could be a restatement of the "I AM" proclamation of John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." In the first chapter John had said that the incarnate Logos was full of grace and truth (1:14).
Additional Note on "Sanctify"
In his commentary on this verse John Wesley interpreted Yeshua's words to mean, "Consecrate them by the anointing of thy Spirit to their office, and perfect them in holiness, by means of thy word." Adam Clarke, noted Methodist leader following Wesley, said that Yeshua prayed for two things: (1) that the disciples might be fully consecrated to the work of the ministry, and separated from all worldly concerns; and (2) that they might be holy, and patterns of all holiness to those to whom they announced the salvation of God. Clarke notes that Yeshua acts here in reference to the conduct of the high priest, to whom it belonged to sanctify the priests, the sons of Aaron.
Scripture affirms frequently that God wants His people to be holy (i.e., wholly His). The command to be holy was a requirement for all the "sons of Israel" (Ex 22:31; Lev 19:2; 20:2, 7; Num 15:40; Deut 7:6; 14:21; 28:9), but particularly priests (Ex 30:29; Lev 21:6). For the Israelites to be holy meant separation from all that is profane. While being holy and being righteous are synonymous in some things they may be distinguished by the difference between the two great commandments to love. Being holy means to love God first and being righteous means to love one's neighbor. In the Torah holiness is associated with the first four commands of the Ten Commandments and righteousness with the remainder of those commands. God expects there to be a marked difference between His people and the world.
The Torah requirement for holiness is echoed in the apostolic letters (Rom 6:19; 2Cor 7:1; Eph 1:4; 4:24; 5:27; Col 1:22; 1Th 3:13; 4:3, 7; Heb 12:10, 14; 1Pet 1:15-16; 2:9; 2Pet 3:11; Jude 1:20). The apostles taught, consistent with the Torah, that holiness is both a state of belonging wholly to God and a goal of being transformed into the image of God’s Son (Rom 8:29), as Yeshua petitioned for all His disciples in this prayer. Traditional Wesleyan theology affirms that sanctification is freedom from a sinning lifestyle (Rom 6:19-22; cf. Luke 1:74-75) made possible by a spiritual cleansing or purifying of the heart by the Holy Spirit accomplished in those trusting in Yeshua for salvation (cf. Acts 2:38; 11:15-17; 15:9; 19:1-6; Rom 6:22; 2Th 2:13). The work of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost is viewed as representative of what happens in heart cleansing.
Since the 18th century there has been much discussion, and not a little debate, regarding the degree to which a person is made holy and when it happens. Wesleyan theologians are quick to point out that being sanctified entirely (1Th 5:23) does not make one as pure as God, as perfect as the angels or as innocent as Adam and Eve before they sinned. Moreover, all disciples make mistakes or fall short of the glory of God due to human imperfection and frailty (Rom 3:23; Jas 3:2). Yet, sanctification, or being separated to God, is necessary to become a fully "actualized" disciple. The chief impediment to sanctification is the self-will acting contrary to the interests of God. The promise of the New Covenant is that God's people would be empowered to obey His commandments (Jer 31:31-32). Too many believers fail to become sanctified disciples because they are unwilling to obey all that God commands.
Some Christians associate holiness with legalism, but being holy in this life is not a matter of developing a personal list of rules or building a resume of good works. Sanctification means consecrating oneself or transferring the ownership of one's life to God and allowing God through the Holy Spirit to empower full obedience (cf. Acts 1:8; Rom 12:1; 15:16; Titus 3:5). In any event, it is reasonable to assume that the God of grace will complete whatever may be lacking in the faithful believer on the great day of the Messiah's appearing and the resurrection. The completion of sanctification at the resurrection may be inferred from some passages (1Th 3:12-13; 1Pet 4:1; 1Jn 3:2; Rev 22:11).
Being sanctified does not mean that the disciple will never commit another sin, but that by being single-mindedly devoted to pleasing God, the disciple's life will demonstrate a moral character that conforms to God's commandments. We should note, however, that while the apostles were holy disciples (2Cor 1:12; Eph 3:5), none of them had the temerity of Job to assert unequivocal blamelessness before God (Job 13:3; 27:5f; cf. Paul's humility in 1Cor 4:4). Personal testimonies of early disciples are appropriately modest in the face of God's holiness, a lesson all disciples should take to heart (cf. Matt 8:8; John 1:27; Acts 10:25-26; Php 3:8-15; 1Tim 1:12-16).
18 "Just as You sent me into the world, I also sent them into the world.
Just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. See verse 2 above. You sent: Grk. apostellō, aor. See verse 3 above. me: pronoun of the first person. into: Grk. eis, prep. See verse 1 above. the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. Yeshua had affirmed on a prior occasion that he had been sent into the world (John 10:36). While the declaration might include his incarnation (miraculous birth), considering the rest of this verse he more likely alludes to the beginning of his ministry when he was about 30 (Luke 3:23). Prior to his immersion Yeshua had lived in relative obscurity in Nazareth. When the time was right the Father took Yeshua from his "comfort zone" and thrust him into the world that desperately needed his message.
I also: Grk. kagō. See verse 6 above. sent: Grk. apostellō, aor. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. into: Grk. eis. the world: Grk. kosmos. The mission of Yeshua serves as the pattern for the mission of the apostles. He had not called them to a monastic existence. Yeshua probably alludes to the time he sent the twelve (Matt 10:5-14) and later the seventy (Luke 10:1-12) as his authorized agents. They were to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, proclaim the arrival of the Kingdom of God, offer the shalom of God, heal the sick, raise the dead and cleanse those with skin disorders. Yeshua had promised to make his disciples "fishers of men" and he had delivered on that promise.
19 "And for them I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
And for: Grk. huper, prep., lit. "over, above," used to express a stance of concern or interest relating to someone or something, here emphasizing a supportive aspect; for, in behalf of, in the interest of. them: personal pronoun; the apostles. I: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. The use of "I" here is no doubt emphatic encompassing his full identity as Son of God and Son of Man. sanctify: Grk. hagiazō, pres. See verse 17 above. myself: Grk. emautou, possessive pronoun of the first person. Yeshua does not imply any deficiency in his character or lifestyle, but he affirms his commitment to complete his mission and become a sanctified sacrifice to provide atonement for sins.
Morris notes that the use of "sanctify" in the Torah for the consecrating of priests (Ex 28:41; 29:1, 21) and atoning sacrifices (Ex 28:38; Num 18:9) is appropriate to Yeshua's statement "I sanctify myself." Yeshua sets himself apart to do the will of his Father and that will required his death. Paul expounds at length in his letter to Messianic Jews in the Diaspora of Yeshua performing the actions of the high priest and offering himself as a sinless sacrifice to atone for sin (Heb 2:17; 5:1-6; 7:23-27; 9:11-14). so that: Grk. hina, conj. they also: Grk. kai. may be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj. See verse 3 above. The subjunctive mood of the verb looks toward what is conceivable or potential. Yeshua knows what he can accomplish through his apostles.
sanctified: Grk. hagiazō, perf. pass. part., i.e., totally consecrated to God. in: Grk. en, prep. truth: Grk. alētheia. See verse 17 above. By "truth" Yeshua may be referring to himself, but more likely he means the Hebrew concept of emet manifested in a firm resolve, faithfulness in obedience, and integrity in proclaiming God's message without fear or favor and without adding to or subtracting from it. Yeshua illustrates here that being sanctified has to do with being in service to God. He wanted to be sure that when he gave his Great Commission to all his apostles after the resurrection, no one would balk at the challenge of the mission.
Prayer for All Followers, 17:20-26
20 "Now I am not asking concerning these alone, but also concerning those trusting in me through their word;
Now: Grk. de, conj. I am not: Grk. ou, adv. asking: Grk. erōtaō, pres. See verse 9 above. concerning: Grk. peri, prep. See verse 9 above. these: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. The pronoun alludes to the Eleven listening to the prayer, but also properly to the Seventy who would share the Pentecost experience. alone: Grk. monos, adv. See verse 3 above. but: Grk. alla, conj. also: Grk. kai, conj. concerning: Grk. peri. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun, lit. "the ones." trusting: Grk. pisteuō, pres. part. See verse 8 above. in: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." The use of eis emphasizes the entry into a relationship. me: pronoun of the first person.
through: Grk. dia, prep. The root meaning of dia is two, but in composition it normally means 'through' to indicate means (DM 101). their: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. word: Grk. logos. See verse 6 above. Three times in this prayer Yeshua said "Your Word" referring to the Father (verses 6, 14 and 17). Now Yeshua uses logos here of the future testimony and good news proclaimed by the apostles. In this verse Yeshua transitions to pray for all the millions through the centuries who would come to trust in Yeshua for salvation. The good news has come to all mankind because of the faithfulness of the apostles. Yeshua makes it clear that the petitions he offered for his apostles also apply to the future generations of followers. He then proceeds to amplify those requests.
21 so that all might be one; just as You, Father, are in me, and I in You, that they also might be in us; so that the world might trust that You sent me.
so that: Grk. hina, conj. The conjunction is used to introduce purpose or intention. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. Some versions insert "they." The adjective here denotes all followers of Yeshua. might be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj. See verse 3 above. The present tense indicates starting and continuing the action. The subjunctive mood recognizes the potential and expresses a wish. one: Grk. heis. See verse 11 above. just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. See verse 2 above. You: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 1 above. The redundancy of "You, Father" emphasizes the intimate relationship Yeshua has with the Father. are in: Grk. en, prep. The preposition is used here of the most intimate kind of union. me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person.
and I: Grk. kagō, conj. See verse 6 above. in: Grk. en. You: Grk. su. so that: Grk. hina. they: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. also: Grk. kai, conj. might be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj. in: Grk. en. Stern comments that the preposition in this context denotes deep mutual concern and participation. us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. One proof of sanctification for which Yeshua prayed in verse 17 above is the absence of competitiveness that marred the beginning of the last supper (Luke 22:24). Being "in us" is the binding force that creates oneness among believers. Yeshua does not ask for uniformity. Disciples are not clones of Yeshua. Personalities differ and cultural characteristics still define individuals. What we have in common is our loyalty to the God of Israel and His Messiah.
so that: Grk. hina. the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. might trust: Grk. pisteuō, pres. subj. See verse 8 above. The present participle is not used to signify something then occurring, but an action purposed for the future. that: Grk. hoti, conj. You: Grk. su. sent: Grk. apostellō, aor. See verse 3 above. me: Grk. egō. The end result of the unity for which Yeshua prayed would be the acceptance of the message of his atoning mission and the salvation of many souls.
22 "And the glory which You have given me I have given to them; so that they might be one, just as we are one;
And: Grk. kagō. See verse 5 above. the glory: Grk. doxa. See verse 5 above. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. You have given: Grk. didōmi, perf. See verse 2 above. me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. Morris sees the "glory" here as Yeshua following the path of lowly service culminating in the cross. He extends the thought by saying the "way of cross" to which Yeshua called his disciples (Luke 9:23) is the way of glory. While the concept of cross=glory provided the motivation for asceticism in the history of Christianity and is still embraced by Christian interpreters, this manner of expression is not found anywhere in the apostolic writings. If there is any connection between the cross and glory it is that suffering precedes glory (Luke 24:26; Rom 8:18; Heb 2:9; 1Pet 4:13; 5:1).
Tenney offers a better explanation by saying that the glory of which Yeshua speaks is the triumphant task of redeeming men to God. As Paul states, Yeshua was "crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death" in the process of "bringing many sons to glory" (Heb 2:9-10 NIV). I have given: Grk. didōmi, perf. to them: personal pronoun, here used of his apostles. so that: Grk. hina, conj. they might be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj. See verse 3 above. one: Grk. heis. See verse 11 above. See the previous verse. just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. See verse 2 above. we: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. are one: Grk. heis. Those who share in Yeshua's mission participate in his glory and that mission is what unites disciples. The unity in the Body of Messiah is not identical to the unity of Father and Son, but it is similar. Just as Yeshua performed deeds according to the will of the Father (John 5:36; 10:32), so disciples should seek to emulate Yeshua (1Pet 2:21).
23 I in them, and You in me, so that they might be perfected in unity, so that the world might know that You sent me, and loved them, just as You loved me.
I: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. in: Grk. en, prep. them: personal pronoun, here used of the apostles, although the pronoun could allude to all followers of Yeshua. and You: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person; the Father. in: Grk. en. me: Grk. egō. The opening clause depicts mutual indwelling (cf. John 14:10). Morris describes it as "mutual interpenetration" (644). so that: Grk. hina, conj. they might be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj. See verse 3 above. The present tense indicates an action purposed for the future. perfected: Grk. teleioō, perf. pass. part., bring to a point at which nothing is missing, to complete, to perfect or to fulfill. The perfect tense of the verb implies a maturation process that results in a state to be maintained once attained. The verb "perfected" does not refer to an ethical perfection, but to an ideal relationship.
The verb occurs 25 times in the LXX and renders three different Hebrew verbs (DNTT 2:60): (1) Heb. mala (SH-4390), to be full, to fill, found in texts to render the idiom "fill the hands," an expression of ordination of the priests (Ex 29:9, 29, 33, 35; Lev 8:33; 16:32); (2) Heb. tamam (SH-8552), to complete or finish (1Kgs 7:22; 14:10; 2Chr 8:16), and (3) Heb. kalal (SH-3634), to complete or perfect (Ezek 27:11). in: Grk. en. unity: Grk. heis. See verse 11 above. Yeshua prays that the unity between his followers and himself, between his followers and the Father and between his believers and other believers will have the same character as the unity between himself and the Father.
Yeshua's desire for unity may seem naďve considering the splintering of the Body of Messiah into denominations, first occurring in Corinth (1Cor 1:12). The factionalism of Christianity, which at times has degenerated into violence, was never God's will, but then neither was the abandonment of the Jewish roots of the faith by Christianity, which planted the seeds of future division. The success of evangelism is truly remarkable considering the deep division between Christian denominations. How much greater would evangelism bear fruit if there was true unity in the Body of Messiah.
so that: Grk. hina. the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. In this context the "world" is first and foremost the Jewish world. The apostles were to bear witness to the sons of Israel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Diaspora (cf. Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; 2:36; 4:10; 9:15; 10:36). might know: Grk. ginōskō, pres. subj. See verse 3 above. The goal of unity is to produce revelation. that: Grk. hoti, conj. You: Grk. su. sent: Grk. apostellō, aor. See verse 3 above. As stated previously, Yeshua was sent to accomplish redemption and salvation for his people Israel. me: Grk. egō. The revelation of Yeshua as the one sent by the Father relates to the mission of the Holy Spirit to glorify Yeshua (John 16:14).
and loved: Grk. agapaō, aor., to have such an interest in another that one wishes to contribute to the other's well-being, even if it means making a personal sacrifice to do so. In the LXX agapaō translates aheb (SH-157), but aheb is a far more comprehensive word than agapaō. The Hebrew word is comparable to the English verb "love," which may be used with a variety of ways. them: Yeshua echoes the declaration of John 3:16, "For God so loved the world." just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. used to introduce a comparison. You loved: Grk. agapaō, aor. me: The fact of the Father loving the Son has been stated twice previously (John 3:35; 5:20).
24 "Father, I desire that those also You have given me might be where I am so that they might behold my glory, which You have given me; because You loved me before the foundation of the world.
Father: See verse 1 above. I desire: Grk. thelō, pres., to have a desire for something or have a purpose for something; will, wish, desire. Yeshua uses the verb to mean something more fervent than a mere wish. that: Grk. hina, conj. those also: Grk. kakeinos, demonstrative pronoun (from kai, "and" + ekeinos, "that one"), used in reference to someone or something previously mentioned; and/also that one. You have given: Grk. didōmi, perf. See verse 2 above. me might be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj. See verse 3 above. The present tense anticipates the future. where: Grk. hopou, adv., in what place. I am: Grk. eimi, pres. On the face of it Yeshua appears to speak of heaven, since not many days afterwards he will ascend to the right hand of the Father.
While the apostles would see Yeshua in heaven after their deaths, he could have meant when he comes in his glory to establish his kingdom on the earth, headquartered in Jerusalem. so that: Grk. hina. they might behold: Grk. theōreō, pres. subj., may mean (1) physically observe as a spectator, pay attention to; behold, look at, observe, see, watch; (2) conclude on the basis of personal experience; consider, infer, see; or (3) have awareness in depth; perceive. The first meaning has application here. The present tense is used here for an anticipated future event. my: The pronoun has a possessive quality. glory: Grk. doxa. See verse 5 above. Yeshua speaks of the splendor and majesty of his heavenly existence that he will have again in the life to come.
which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. You have given: Grk. didōmi, perf. With the dative case of the personal pronoun following, the verb has the force of "give forth from oneself" (Thayer). me: In verse 5 above the glory of the Son was a shared glory with the Father. Now he states more specifically that the origin of the glory he possessed came from the Father. His stated desire may have been behind John's later statement "We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1Jn 3:2 NIV). Paul gives a somewhat similar thought when he says, "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory" (2Cor 3:18 TLV). because: Grk. hoti, conj. You loved: Grk. agapaō, aor. See the previous verse. me: Love is at the center of the tri-unity of God. before: Grk. pro, prep., used here of time. See verse 5 above.
the foundation: Grk. katabolē, primarily foundation or establishment of the universe, but one time as conception in the womb (Heb 11:11). The noun occurs 11 times in the Besekh, ten of which denote something that took place before creation (Eph 1:4; 1Pet 1:26; Rev 13:8) or after creation (Matt 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; Heb 4:3; 9:26; Rev 17:8). of the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. The term is used here in the sense of the material universe which was created in less than a week. The clause "before the foundation of the world" alludes to Yeshua's pre-existence, not as a being created by God but the divine Creator. Tenney comments, "this shows that the binding power of unity in the Triune God is love."
The last two verses of Yeshua's prayer contain no petitions, but offer an intimate portrait of his relationship with the Father. His words are especially poignant considering the agony to follow in the garden of Gethsemane.
25 "Righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent me;
Righteous: Grk. dikaios, adj., being in accord with God's covenantal standards expressed in Torah for acceptable behavior, upright or just. In the LXX dikaios renders Heb. tsaddiq ('just or righteous' BDB 843). In Scripture a righteous person is one who follows the ethical and moral demands of the written Torah, such as Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:6). The definition of "righteous" does not include the subjectivity of personal opinion. The equivalent title "Righteous God" occurs two times in the Tanakh (Ps 7:9; Isa 45:21). When the adjective is applied to God it means He is a just God, who judges according to absolute standards to condemn the guilty, vindicate the innocent and remain faithful to His covenant people (Deut 32:4; Ps 7:11; 119:137; Ezra 9:15; Isa 41:10; Dan 9:14; Rom 1:17; 2:5; 2Th 1:5; Rev 15:3; 16:7).
Father: See verse 1 above. The title "Righteous Father" could be seen as synonymous with "Holy Father" in verse 11 above as Isaiah said, "And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness" (Isa 5:16 NASB). although: Grk. kai, conj. the world: Grk. kosmos. See verse 5 above. Yeshua most likely speaks of the Jewish world, particularly the Judean authorities, whom he contrasts with himself. has not known: Grk. ginōskō, aor. See verse 3 above. You: Yeshua had said previously that his adversaries among the Judean authorities did not know God (John 7:28; 8:19, 55; 15:21). To "know" the Father does not mean making deductions about God from studying the Bible or nature (cf. Rom 1:18-21), but having a personal relationship with Him.
yet: Grk. kai, conj. I have known: Grk. ginōskō, aor. You: Yeshua's knowledge of the Father is of the most intimate kind and extends to the time before the creation of the universe. and these: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun; used of the apostles. have known: Grk. ginōskō, aor. that You sent: Grk. apostellō, aor. See verse 3 above. me: Yeshua reiterates an earlier statement by the apostles (John 16:30) and his own in verse 8 above that they believed he was the Messiah sent by God and spoke for God (cf. Matt 16:16). The use of the individual pronouns "You" and "me" emphasizes the distinct personalities of the Father and Son.
26 and I made known Your name to them, and will make it known; so that the love with which You loved me might be in them, and I in them."
and I made known: Grk. gnōrizō, aor., may mean (1) to share information about something; make known, inform about; or (2) come to a decision about a matter; know. The first meaning applies here and the aorist tense points to a completed activity. Your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. name: Grk. onoma. Yeshua repeats what he said in verse 6 above. to them: personal pronoun; his apostles. and will make it known: Grk. gnōrizō, fut. so that: Grk. hina, conj., expresses purpose. the love: Grk. agapē, a relatively high level of interest in the well-being of another, affection, esteem, love. The noun agapē is one of the four Greek words for "love." In the LXX agapē renders Heb. ahavah (SH-160, BDB 12), which is used of both human and divine love. The Jewish translators of the LXX apparently coined the noun agapē, since there is no Greek literature earlier than the LXX that uses the word (DNTT 2:539).
God's nature and actions are the epitome of agapē (1Jn 4:8) and the preeminent virtue (1Cor 13:1-13). The essential factor in every passage employing agapē is the willingness to sacrifice for an object, which sets it apart from the affection of phileō, the family loyalty of storgē and the passion of eros. with which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. You loved: Grk. agapaō, aor. See verse 23 above. me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. might be: Grk. eimi, pres. subj. See verse 3 above. in them: Yeshua states his goal as instilling the divine love within his disciples. To accomplish the commands to love God and neighbor requires divine empowerment for greatest success (Rom 5:5). and I: Grk. kagō, conj. in them: Yeshua will be "in" his disciples through the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9, 11).
BAG: Walter Bauer (1877-1960), A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981. Online.
Clarke: Adam Clarke (1762–1832), Commentary on the Holy Bible. 6 vols. Online.
DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.
Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.
DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 3 Vols., ed. Colin Brown. Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.
Gill: John Gill (1697–1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.
HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at BibleHub.com)
Morris: Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1971. [New International Commentary on the New Testament]
Mounce: William D. Mounce, Mounce Concise Greek–English Dictionary of the New Testament. 2011. Online.
Reinhartz: Adele Reinhartz, Annotations on "John," Jewish Annotated New Testament, eds. Amy–Jill Levine and Marc Brettler. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Santala: Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Trans. William Kinnaird. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1992. Online.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
Tenney: Merrill C. Tenney (1904-1985), John, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 9. Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp, 1989–1999.
Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament. Harper Brothers, 1889.
Wesley: John Wesley (1703-1791), Notes on the Bible. Wesleyan Heritage Publishing, 2009. Online.
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